2022 AFL Draft Preview: Port Adelaide
WITH season proper and trade period done and dusted, AFL fans and staff alike now turn their attention towards the draft (November 28-30). The chaos has settled on player and pick swaps, and budding prospects have completed their combines, leaving a nervous wait until they learn their fate.
In the next of our club by club previews, we take a look at Port Adelaide’s draft hand and offer insight into how the Power may utilise the picks at their possession. While Port has already spent most of its currency at the trade table to recruit reigning number one pick Jason Horne-Francis, the Power still do have some decisions to make on draft night.
2022 FINISH: 11th
CURRENT PICKS: 33, 60, 72
FUTURE PICKS: COL R2, PTA R3, FRE R3, PTA R4
ACADEMY/FATHER-SON NOMINEES: Nil.
FIRST PICK OPTIONS:
Port Adelaide does not enter the draft until Pick 33, which is expected to drop to 36 with a series of father-son bids taking place inside the Top 30. It will help the Power’s latter two selections move up the order though, with the likes of Brisbane wiped out, and others using them on other Academy or father-son prospects.
Naturally it is difficult to try and estimate who might be available at Port Adelaide’s pick. Given the gap between the Power’s first and second picks, they could end up with a slider, or potentially try and grab a player they rate who might be snapped up later on. Given the lack of picks Port Adelaide could also package up 33 and 60 for two picks in between to bring them closer together if their interests lay in that range.
From a sliders point of view, Port would be closely watching the likes of South Australian Jakob Ryan who provides clean ball use out of defence. In a similar vein, the skilful Sam Gilbey is overcoming a broken leg and is a type who the Power have drafted in past years, while fellow Sandgroper Darcy Jones is a small talent who could land inside the Top 30, but has plenty of upside with his skill and smarts.
Another local prospect who could come under consideration is Jaiden Magor, with the exciting forward a low accumulator, but a high impact player. He could slot into a role inside 50, while another small who could be around the mark – or potentially slide a bit later – is Bendigo Pioneers’ Noah Long as well as smooth-moving half-back Luke Teal who also had an injury-interrupted year.
Port Adelaide’s later two picks are even harder to try and predict given their placement in the draft, but there should still be some handy players available. If one of the above are not available, they could look to the likes of clean and smart forward/midfielder Jack O’Sullivan, or potentially Oakleigh Chargers teammate Will Elliott. Both have had injury-stricken years, with O’Sullivan still earning a National Draft Combine invite, while raw tall Elliott won a State Draft Combine invite off minimal playing time.
Sticking on the Oakleigh Chargers bandwagon, Bailey Macdonald is an explosive midfielder with plenty of upside having impressed through school football and cracking into the Chargers team later in the year and could be a good shout. Another midfielder who tests incredibly well and can play both forward and midfield is Toby McMullin, while the versatile Jason Gillbee is a medium height and can play on all three lines.
From a country perspective, Gippsland Power duo Max Knobel and Jonti Schuback are ones with long-term potential. Knobel is one of the most outstanding ruck abilities in the crop, while Schuback has outstanding evasion and can play in both defence and on the outside. From a mature-age perspective, Wangaratta Magpies’ Joe Richards is one who could be an immediate talent inclusion, with the midfielder having a remarkable year in the Ovens and Murray League and can hit the scoreboard, which is important considering he will likely play as a forward if he makes AFL.
– Will Port Adelaide be able to nab a slider from the Top 30?
– Do the Power continue on their run of high-skilled, athletic talents?
– Can Port Adelaide try and move its second pick up by shuffling back with its first?